Check The Vibes Presents: Top 50 Hip Hop and R&B Songs of 2018

Updated: Dec 13, 2018

It’s been another prolific year in R&B and Hip-Hop music. In a landscape that changes every day, artist are still looking for new ways to make an impact. This year has seen an overwhelming amount of music be released and the streaming era has made it even more difficult to have the lasting impact that once existed. Although the processing time for music is at an all time low, it never changes the ability for a great song to stand out. As easy as it is to bypass entire projects, a great song can still stand as a beacon. It still allows an artist, whether a veteran or a new one, to gain the necessary traction needed to maintain relevance. Below are the Top 50 Hip-Hop & R&B songs that we've enjoyed at Check the Vibes.

Couple of things to consider as you’re going through this list. This consisted solely of songs that were released solely up to November 16th, 2018. Anything released after falls into the fourth quarter which will likely have the most impact next year. We did not consider any music that we did not listen to. There were an endless number of noteworthy releases in 2018, it's impossible to listen to and completely digest them all. Most importantly, this list is not based on any formula. These are simply the songs that we enjoyed the most, so there are not any criteria measured other than how much it meant to us! So, without further delay, here is the Top 50 Hip Hop and R&B songs of 2018.

50. Bruno Mali Kidd: Scarface

Producer(s): Rawkey

Album: M.A.D.E. 2

Label: 977950 Records DK

Miami got next, maybe even got now. Bruno Mali Kidd is one of the rappers at the forefront. On the heels of his M.A.D.E. release, he followed that up with the sequel. Scarface smacks you across the face immediately. Miami isn't appreciated enough for the quality of street rappers who can really rap. Scarface cuts to the point. Hard beat, dope lyrics, simple chorus that’s easy to bounce to. “I’m from where they gun butt you and knock a few braces off, I’m from where if your money long you knock a few cases off, only home-run you get if you knock a few bases off, ” Bruno Mali snarls. He’s every bit as convincing and serious as the menacing beat suggest.

49. Lil Wayne: Don’t Cry (feat. XXXTentacion)

Producer(s): Z3N & Ben Billions

Album: Tha Carter V

Label: Young Money. Universal

After years of legal battles, public frustrations, and bickering with his label head and father figure, Lil' Wayne finally got to release the Carter V. The first song that we hear is easily the most impactful of the album. Wayne snagged one of the first posthumous features from XXX Tentacion and his vocals light up the record. Throughout the song, Lil’ Wayne sounds rejuvenated. It makes sense given that Don’t Cry was one of the last couple of songs recorded for the album. Hearing Lil’ Wayne rap about striving through all the troubles he has experienced and still being there as humbled as ever showed that he was fully engaged. He was focused and that’s the Wayne that we all appreciate.

48. Dave East & Styles P: Do You What Time It Is

Producer(s): Various Producers

Album: Beloved

Label: Def Jam

Dave East does his best Jadakiss impersonation and executes flawless in-and-out verses with Styles P on “Do You Know What Time It Is.” Throughout their collaborative project, Beloved, the two sound like they’ve been rapping together for years. The clearest example of their chemistry is through the back and forth on this record. The two describe what they did in their day, detailing every hour. All of it involves getting to the money, watching over their families, spending time in the juice bar, and smoking a whole lot of weed. The production is smooth off some 70's soul groove shit and the two sound at home on it. Great things happens when NY rappers stop talking about making NY music and actually just do it.

47. Wale: My Boy (freestyle) (feat. J. Cole)

Producer(s): J. Cole

Album: Free Lunch: EP

Label: Warner Bros.

My Boy is classic bar work from two of the best lyricists in the game. Neither Wale nor J. Cole miss a beat and hit hard hitting line after hard hitting line. The beat is fairly simple and allows plenty of room for Wale and J. Cole to flesh out their punches. Wale kicks things off and J. Cole ends it decisively. Wale hits on several poignant bars like, “these niggas ain’t gangster they be paying. "Extortion ain't dead it just moved to the county." Cole continued his streak of destroying everything he touches as if 2018 is the time of reckoning. He’s making sure that his spot amongst the elite is never denied again, which is ironic considering J. Cole does not come across like someone who cares about status. (He has repeatedly stated in interviews that those things don’t move him.) Lately, there’s been talk from Wale about retirement, because he feels like he’s not being appreciated enough. I hope he reconsiders that stance and remember that he’s still an important voice in rap.

46. Westside Gunn: Elizabeth

Producer(s): The Alchemist

Album: Supreme Blientele

Label: Griselda Records. Empire

The Griselda gang are like folk heroes for New York Hip-Hop. They keep the aesthetic of that sound consistent and the grittiness of their songs is a staple. Westside Gunn is the capo and is a beacon of that consistency. The best song on his Supreme Blientele album is Elizabeth which was laced by the legendary Alchemist. The song is beautiful and yet haunting. The trumpets that are looped gives the music a relaxing, Jazzy feel while Westside Gunn lays a grim outlook over it. The first verse gives a shout out to all those individuals who comprise the criminal underworld. “I know niggas that got two bodies and still a teenager, I know fiends that want to lick the rest of the razor….I know niggas that got 8 balls of pure yay, I know niggas that’ll rob your ass bare faced.” It's tough not to be entranced listening to the record.